News & Politics

Trump Actually Just Said The Olympics Would Have Been a 'Total Failure' Without Him

The completely unnecessary claim is deeply revealing about the president's character.

Photo Credit: White House

President Donald Trump took credit for the success of the 2018 Winter Olympics Wednesday during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, demonstrating what appears to be a compulsive need to boast about himself, even when the facts don't support his claims. 

"President Moon of South Korea was very generous when he said 'If it weren't for Donald Trump, the Olympics would have been a total failure,'' Trump said. "It was my involvement, and the involvement of our great country, that made the Olympics a very successful Olympics."

He continued: "If you look at ticket sales prior to what took place with respect to North Korea, it was going to be a big problem. And it turned out to be a very successful Olympics."

Trump has made similar claims before.

It's not clear if Moon ever said anything like what Trump attributed to him. According to the Washington Post, Trump asked the president to credit him with the initiation of talks between North and South Korea.

“I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks. I want to show my gratitude,” Moon reportedly said. “It could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure."

Trump thinks the talks, which began prior to the Olympics, made people less fearful that the games would be the site of a North Korean attack. But the Trump administration actually postured itself in opposition to the South Korean government's efforts to welcome a North Korean delegation to the Olympics, which certainly played a part in reducing tensions between the two countries.

But beyond the details of this particular case, Trump's obsession with claiming credit for everything — the Olympics, the stock market, the monthly jobs reports — is a worrying characteristic in a leader. Trump almost never apologizes for any missteps, after all, but he always is quick to pat himself on the back. These are the actions of someone who is unwilling to hear criticism and is unduly concerned with his personal glory.

Watch Trump's comments below:

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.